By the time the lads reached the flat the light but persistent drizzle had turned into a damp and clinging fog. Beads of mist hung in the lads hair and also in a pair of beards. Harry pocketed his wrappers for future examination whilst the other two disposed of their meal leftovers in the wheelie bin. The flat was dark and, it not being a Tuesday, as quiet as the grave.
Since it was still the general sort of time when people were up and about, the lads settled in for an evening in front of the telly. The beer fridge was stocked up, the dials cranked into the “freezing” position and seats were occupied for the duration.
About halfway through the supplies in the beer fridge, Loz took it upon himself to cook some chickeny bready things. Any amount of lager and junk food didn’t appear to have an effect on Loz’s stature, he was thin to the point of being skinny. This was mainly due to the complete lack of nourishment he gained from his staple food, the chickeny bready thing.
As Loz rummaged around in what could generously be called the freezer compartment, the grill took it upon its self to open, ignite and turn itself on to medium. Loz’s mug slowly trundled across the worktop, its destination apparently adjacent to the kettle.
Rummaging over, Loz stood up proudly clutching his prize of two bread crumb coated patties of frozen mechanically reclaimed chicken. He paused momentarily, confused by the fact the grill appeared to be grilling, despite the fact he had no recollection of turning the thing on. Oh well, he thought to himself, a considerable amount of beer has been consumed, I can’t be on top of my game all the time.
Alex entered the kitchen, drawn by the smell of incinerating poultry and proceeded to make a student sandwich. The art of the student sandwich is borne out of laziness and desperation really, it involves taking the softest thing in the fridge and putting it between two of the hardest things that the cupboards or fridge have to offer. In this instance raw lasagne sheets and tomato puree were not the ideal selection but Alex gainfully struggled on, since the principle of the thing was almost as important as the actual taste.
A few minutes later when Loz was looking slightly green around the gills from his daily poisoning at the hands of the British farming industry, Alex broached the subject of shopping.
“We appear to be running somewhat low on a few essentials. Aside from being down to our last 72 beers, I’ve just had to have a sandwich made out of raw lasagne. When it comes to eating raw lasagne, a trip to the supermarket may be in order!”
This was indeed a situation that required deep pondering and discussion. For the most part the lads preferred to shop locally, this meant less effort as it was a simply walk to the shops and then back home with the special local shop cheeswire carrier bags but occasionally a visit to the supermarket was necessary, to stock up on the things that local shops never seemed to stock.
This list of supposedly arcane material that no local shop would ever let through its doors included but was not limited to two ply toilet roll, pasta, economy free flow minced beef and proper baked beans. Local shops sold exceedingly esoteric baked beans that whilst certainly being an experience, certainly weren’t like any other baked bean the lads had ever tried. A less discerning eye than the lads would argue that a local shop did actually stock economy free flow mince but as Loz had once said, eagle of eye and ginger of hair, “Hmmm, this doesn’t actually say what animal has been minced you know.”, proving once and for all that shopping was as much a battle of wits as medieval warfare had been.
Normally the lads took it in turns to accompany their friend Nigel to the supermarket since space was limited on the University disability bus. Nigel had come up with the bright idea of registering himself as dyslexic on his first day at university, with the intention of gaining the extra fifteen minutes in the hour that dyslexic students received for their exams. There had however been some quite unexpected benefits. The disability office had gone into manic overdrive, issuing Nigel with an orange badge for a car he didn’t own and offering to pay a helper to take him round the local supermarket, in case his dyslexia lead him to buy inappropriate products. All this was of course backed up by a place for him on the disability minibus because, they reasoned, he might misread the bus stop signs and get lost.
When the chaps on his corridor had heard this, they couldn’t believe their ears. The lads, who happened to all live in the same accommodation block, had quickly latched onto the idea of free travel and had taken Nigel to their heart. In return, payment in beer and friendship was bestowed upon Nigel, who was a grateful recipient of both.
Harry had somehow managed to miss out on the supermarket run for the last couple of terms. Illnesses strangely manifested themselves around the time of a big shop, only to disappear almost overnight and more than once he appeared to have succumbed to some form of sleeping sickness or a coma that nothing could rise him from. This time however he was determined to be part of the team.
“How exactly can we manage to get all of us on the minibus?” Harry pondered out loud.
In the end the lads settled for one of the more simple plans and accordingly phoned Nigel to arrange for a pick up the following morning.
The driver of the disability minibus was obviously of the same genetic stock as the Head of Admissions, thought Harry, he has exactly the same look of incredulity about him.
“So you’re telling me that Nigel is ill and he wants you two.” he gestured at Loz and Harry, “to take his place?”
“That’s right.” said Loz politely.
“But if you’re going anyway.” he pointed at the remaining lad, “Why do you two need to come as well?”
“I’m the paid for disability assistant, its not my place to be making decisions about what food to buy, I merely assist the disabled individual in selecting what he wants. I’d be in contravention of my terms of employment if I went on my own and actually decided what Nigel wanted.” explained Alex in a tone that could easily be mistaken for helpful.
“So, we only need one of you two then!” said the driver, again gesturing at Harry and Loz.
“Would that it were so.” lamented Harry, “but sadly I have a terrible phobia of bananas or to be more precise the South American spiders that may be lurking in the bunches of the aforementioned fruit.”
“Well, he can go then.” a spindly finger jabbed out toward Loz.
“Unfortunately I’m allergic to pasta, it brings me out in massive hives.” objected Loz.
“So, you see.” said Alex smoothly, “Harry needs to come to buy the pasta and Loz needs to come to buy the bananas, whilst I need to supervise what they’re buying so that poor old sick and disabled Nigel can have some dinner tonight.”
The driver snorted his disgust, aware that time was ticking and he had to pick up another two people, only one of whom was really disabled in his book. Chronic flatulence, whilst socially embarrassing didn’t count as a bona fide disability in his book.
“Come on then, but you’ll have to cram yourselves into those two seats at the back there, we’ve only room for Nigel and one helper.”
The lads obliged, wedging themselves into a tight corner of the minibus, thoughts of food running through their minds.